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What is ANAM?

ANAM - The Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics – is a library of computer-based tests of cognitive domains including attention, concentration, reaction time, memory, processing speed, and decision-making. ANAM provides clinicians and researchers with data to evaluate an individual's change in cognitive status over time. ANAM is available exclusively from Vista LifeSciences.

ANAM includes all research and development from previous versions, including initial development in the 1980s and 1990s through the Department of Defense who patented it. It was licensed exclusively through U.S. Army Technology Transfer for further development into a reliable, repeatable and broadly-available assessment technology.

ANAM now includes 22 tests that can be grouped into flexible or standardized batteries that are highly sensitive to cognitive change. Scientists working in varied fields of healthcare and human factors research have identified ANAM batteries most useful to their topic-specific research areas, including injury (e.g., trauma, blast), illness (e.g., degenerative disease), exposure (e.g., toxin), risk factors (e.g., heat/cold, sleep loss, fatigue) and interventions (e.g., medication, rehabilitation).

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Why use automated assessments?

In the 1970s and 1980s, researchers and scientists began to use personal computers to automate cognitive tests previously presented by clinicians using electromechanical devices, or by paper and pencil and a stopwatch. When carefully programmed, personal computers can measure an individual's responses with sub-second accuracy. ANAM was able to implement many tests in a highly precise, sensitive, and repeatable fashion. The Department of Defense, FAA and NASA were among the earliest government agencies to use automated assessments, including ANAM.

The ability of computers to present traditional neuropsychological test stimuli and measure response with subsecond accuracy provides valuable information to clinicians.

What assessment modules does ANAM include?

  • 2-Choice Reaction Time
  • Code Substitution - Learning, Immediate or Delayed
  • Demographics/History Module
  • Effort Measure
  • Go/No-Go
  • Grammatical Reasoning
  • Logical Relations - Symbolic
  • Manikin
  • Matching Grids
  • Matching to Sample
  • Math Processing
  • Memory Search
  • Mood Scale
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Assessment
  • Procedural Reaction Time
  • Pursuit Tracking
  • Running Memory CPT
  • Simple Reaction Time
  • Sleep Scale
  • Spatial Processing - Sequential and Simultaneous
  • Standard Continuous Performance Task
  • Stroop
  • Symptoms Scale
  • Switching
  • Tapping
  • Tower Puzzle

How are ANAM results accessed by clinicians and researchers?

The ANAM Performance Report (APR) reports tests results and compares them to previous test results and various reference/norm groups.

ANAM software also includes the ANAM Data Extraction and Presentation Tool (ADEPT) which provides clinicians and researchers with the ability to easily select, organize, and display ANAM data in spreadsheets and/or transfer ANAM data to common statistical and graphics software.

Who interprets ANAM results?

The interpretation of ANAM assessment results should be conducted by qualified medical professionals, such as clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists or physicians with training in psychological testing principles, test administration procedures, and clinical test interpretation.

ANAM is not a diagnostic. It provides information to the clinician regarding neurocognitive functioning that should be considered, along with other clinically-relevant information, to assist in medical decision-making.

How are baseline assessments used in healthcare and performance readiness?

Clinicians in many fields of medicine and human performance measurement use baseline and follow-up tests as one measure in an overall assessment of health or performance status. Baseline tests may prove valuable as a comparison to subsequent testing sessions to identify cognitive changes over time.

How long does an ANAM assessment take to complete?

The length of the test battery depends on the number of tests included in the battery. For example, the standard ANAM battery used by the U.S. Department of Defense takes approximately 20-25 minutes to administer to 95% of the test takers.

How is ANAM administered?

Recommended ANAM administration procedures follow the general guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) for distribution and administration of psychological tests. ANAM can be administered by trained proctors under the supervision of qualified professionals who have training in psychological testing principles and test administration procedures. Training for test proctors is offered through Vista LifeSciences. Test results should be interpreted by qualified professionals.

No specialized equipment is required to administer ANAM, which can be administered on a laptop or desktop computer with a MS Windows operating system, and a USB-connected mouse.

Is there a “practice effect” when individuals take the ANAM multiple times?

“Practice effect” is the change in assessment performance that occurs when an assessment is repeated multiple times in succession. Clinical and research protocols for cognitive testing, especially automated testing, differ in their management of “practice effect.”  Researchers often repeat a test many times to achieve “asymptotic” performance levels on the test prior to administering treatment and post-treatment test trials. Asymptotic performance is typically defined as performance absent most learning effects. This protocol provides a good method for assessing very subtle changes in function.

Typically, clinicians do not seek “asymptotic” performance levels. They attempt to obtain a baseline that represents a good estimation of “first time exposure” to a test. The baseline represents a “comparative assessment point.” The assumption is that the post-injury/post-illness/post-exposure assessment will probably not be repeated for period of time so the post-injury assessment will be more like a “first time exposure.” While almost any performance-based test will exhibit some “practice effect,” ANAM development by the University of Oklahoma was designed to minimize “practice effect.” ANAM software provides randomized stimuli across tests sessions, creating an almost limitless number of alternative forms and combinations to facilitate repeated-measures testing.

What is the history of ANAM development?

ANAM is unlike other commercial cognitive assessment software in its research history approach. During his tenure in the 1980s as Director of the Office of Military Performance Assessment Technology (OMPAT), and Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program, Dr. Fred Hegge recognized the importance of cognitive health and the need for a consistent and well-developed approach to cognitive assessment. He and his team worked with a diverse set of neuropsychological testing tools, including the Walter Reed Performance Assessment Battery, to develop a standardized set of cognitive assessment tools that could be used effectively in diverse conditions including varied climates, altitudes and toxic conditions. Dozens of the finest neuropsychological and human performance researchers and scientists contributed to ANAM during decades of laboratory and clinical research. ANAM is referenced in more than 350 peer-reviewed independent research studies and technical reports. It has been used by some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including NASA and the FAA.

In addition, ANAM has a long and continuous history of research use in the Department of Defense, including sports concussion studies at West Point and TBI assessment during Ft. Bragg Paratrooper training. ANAM has the most comprehensive military research and clinical use of any cognitive assessment technology.

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Is ANAM research ongoing?

ANAM research continues in the U.S. and globally. Independent clinical research using ANAM, funded by public and private sector organizations, continues under the direction of scientists studying cognitive change related to aging, injury, illness, exposure, treatment and interventions.

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